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Symptoms of Ross River virus 


Ross River virus


Ross River virus, also known as Ross River fever, is Australia’s most common and widespread arbovirus. Ross River virus occurs in every state and territory and there are more than 5,500 notified human cases a year. Whilst Ross River virus infection does not result in mortality, symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and joint pain can occur for weeks, if not months. At the moment there are no treatments or vaccines available for Ross River virus. The disease is a large public health problem and is estimated to cost Australia between US$4.1-4.7 million a year, with no treatments or vaccines currently available.




Despite the significant public health and economic implications of Ross River virus in Australia, the determinants of its transmission remain unclear. Research currently suggests that the spread of Ross River virus involves a mosquito biting an infected wild animal host, and then transmitting the virus to a susceptible human host. This makes the epidemiology of Ross River virus very complex. More than 30 species of mosquito have been identified as potential carriers, and antibodies have been identified in marsupials (including kangaroos, wallabies and possums), mammals (including cats, dogs, horses and humans) and birds.


Presently there is a need to better understand the epidemiology of Ross River virus to predict future outbreaks of the disease and implement necessary management strategies.


Our research aims to

  • Investigate the ecology of non-human reservoirs and their role in the amplification of Ross River virus in different environments (such as urban, freshwater and saltwater)

  • Develop a model to predict future outbreaks of the Ross River virus in these environments

  • Deliver management strategies for controlling Ross River virus in different environments


We use a combination of fieldwork, laboratory and desktop science to better understand the epidemiology of Ross River virus.


Collaborators include


Useful resources

Harley, D., Sleigh, A. & Ritchie, S. (2001) Ross River virus transmission, infection and disease: a cross-disciplianry review. Clinical Microbiology Reviews14(4): 909-932

Wildlife Health Australia Ross River Virus Fact Sheet

(All Wildlife Health Australia Fact Sheets can be found here)

Brushtail possums are suspected to be a significant reservoir for Ross River virus in urban environments

Aedes vigilax, found in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia is a common vector fro Ross River virus 

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